The Sleeping Jesus

Feb 4, 2018

I can imagine what it was like on that day; full grown men crying like babies, moving frantically around the boat only for one to see Jesus still sleeping, run to Him and be like; Hey boss! You better do something or we’re all gonna die! (See Like 8:22-25).

You most likely would have heard sermons from this portion of scripture with captions like ‘IS JESUS SLEEPING IN YOUR BOAT? Wake Him up’ or ‘AWAKEN THE SLEEPING JESUS IN YOU’

Though I believe their sincere goal was to emphasize the importance of prayers, especially in trying times. But that isn’t God’s emphasis there.
After calming the storm, you’d think Jesus would give them a tap on the back for beckoning on Him. He rather sternly upbraided them ” where is your faith? “. Rather than His sleep being interrupted by teary faces, He was expecting to be awakened to the testimony of how they engaged the deposits He had been imputing in them and put the situation under check.

Even though it’s there, and we emphasis it in different ways (in songs, movies and sermons) that Jesus has power over the storms facing our lives, the more important point we often miss is that if you’re accurately following God’s curriculum for your life in the school of the Spirit, by now some storms should not even qualify as prayer points with which you bombard heaven.

Learn to put all you’ve learnt into practice and exercise the authority you have in Christ (in it’s right context).

So, next time, before you consider awakening the sleeping Jesus with your tears, remember the question ” where is your faith?”.

God bless you!

Who Can’t Lift Up Their Heads To God? Part-2

January 30, 2020 hepsibahgarden

Are your eyes looking up towards the Lord seeking help to live this life? 🙌✝️

Let not our hearts be in a state wherein we stop looking to God for help and strength. In my previous post we got to see 2 groups of people who are unable to lift up their head towards God. From the Word of God let’s find out more about the others unable to do the same:

3. Those depending on their own strength cannot lift up their head to God – What does this sentence essentially mean? It means when we rely solely on our own intelligence and wisdom, seeking God’s help looks irrelevant. King David was a great king who fought many battles and subdued powerful enemies; he had a great army under his command. When he was a young boy, he faced a lion, a bear, and Goliath the philistine, but he overcame them with help from God. He trusted God to help him win.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Psalms‬ ‭20:7‬

In the olden days, kings would use their best horses and chariots during war to fight and win over their enemies. But for David, the trust upon name of the Lord God was enough to help him win. Horses and chariots refers to manpower and human strength. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. Psalms‬ ‭147:10‬. Legs of man refers to human intelligence and wisdom.

4. Those bound with the spirit of infirmity cannot lift their heads up unto God – Spirit of infirmity refers to living in sin and being bound by the natures of sin. Howbeit, when we confess and present our condition, as it is, in God’s presence, there is deliverance right there.

And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. Luke‬ ‭13:11-12‬

This woman was not a commoner. She was the daughter of Abraham (as in belonging to the lineage of Abraham). Nevertheless certain natures of sin bound her and kept her bowed down making her unfit to lift herself up. The Publican was one other person who was found in a bowed down state, standing afar off in the temple of God. His ways of unjust tax collecting made him guilty in God’s presence and hence their bent state!

5. A proud person can never lift his/her head before God – A good example of this can be seen in the Scriptures — Naaman, commander in chief of the King of Syria was a leper. He spent lots of money to be cured, but to no avail. Finally he heard of the great prophet Elisha in the land of Israel through his maid. 2 Kings 5:13-19.

When Naaman came to see Elisha with his entourage, he expected the prophet to come out of his house, lay his hands on the sickness and then he would be healed. But nothing of this happened, expect Elisha asking Naaman to go and wash in the river Jordan 7 times and he would be healed. Naaman was offended with this. Nonetheless when he obeyed what Elisha asked him to do, he was fully healed.

Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 2 Kings‬ ‭5:14‬

May God help us! ❤️


Original here

Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist Leader & Advisor to President Abraham Lincoln

Bill Federer

Frederick Douglass was born Frederick “Baily” on a Maryland plantation around FEBRUARY 7, 1817, though no accurate records exist, as he was a slave.

He later chose the birth date of February 14 as he remembered his mother calling him her “little valentine.”

He never saw his mother in the daylight, as he was separated from her as an infant. He did not know who his father was.

Around the age of seven, Frederick witnessed a terribly mean overseer, Mr. Gore, shoot a slave in the face.

Frederick was sent to Baltimore where, around the age of 12, his master’s sister-in-law, Sophia Auld, began teaching him the alphabet, despite this being against the law.

An example of these laws was The Revised Code of the Laws of Virginia (1819):

“Whereas it is common in many places for slaves to meet at religious meeting-houses in the night, or at schools for teaching them reading or writing, which if not stopped may cause considerable evil to the community;

Be it passed: That all meetings of slaves, or free negroes or mulattoes mixing with such slaves, at any meeting-house or school for teaching them reading or writing, either in the day or night, for any reason, shall be deemed an unlawful assembly.

And any officer of the law may have permission to enter the house to arrest or send off such slaves, and to punish them with up to twenty lashes.”

In 1854, a Virginia woman, Mrs. Margaret Douglass (no relation to Frederick), was imprisoned in the common jail of Norfolk for a month for teaching colored children to read.

When Sophia Auld’s husband discovered that she was teaching Frederick to read, he immediately forbade it, saying that if slaves could read, they would grow discontent and desire freedom.

Frederick considered this the “first decidedly anti-slavery lecture”‘ he had ever heard, causing him to be determined to learn how to read all-the-more.

Frederick wrote in his autobiography of learning to read from neighborhood white children.

He would carefully observe the writings of men he worked with.

He remembered reading a newspaper only to have it snatched away from him with a scolding.

Frederick Douglass described in My Bondage and My Freedom (New York and Auburn: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), when he was around 10 to 13 years old, in the years 1828-1831:

“Nothing appeared to make my poor mistress more angry than seeing me, seated in some nook or corner, quietly reading a book or a newspaper.

I have had her rush at me with fury, and snatch it from my hand. Her anger was something like what a traitor might feel on being discovered in a plot by some dangerous spy.

I was most carefully watched in all my movements. If I remained in a separate room from the family for awhile, I was sure to be suspected of having a book. Then I was at once called upon to explain what I had been doing.

All this, however, was entirely too late. Determined to learn to read at any cost, I hit upon many ways to accomplish this goal. The main way, and most successful one, was to use my young white playmates in the streets as teachers …”

He continued:

“I used to carry almost constantly a copy of Webster’s spelling book in my pocket. When I was sent on errands or allowed to have play time, I would step aside with my young friends and take a less on in spelling.

I usually paid the boys with bread, which I also carried in my pocket. For a single biscuit, any of my hungry little playmates would give me a lesson more valuable to me than bread.

Not everyone, however, demanded payment. There were some who enjoyed teaching me, whenever I had a chance to be taught by them.”

Frederick voraciously read newspapers, books, and a publication titled The Columbian Orator.

He is noted as saying “knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom.”

Frederick was hired out to the William Freeland plantation where he taught other slaves to read the New Testament at a weekly Sunday school.

Slaves would use dirt as a chalk board.

Enthusiasm in learning to read drew more than 40 slaves to attend.

Douglass wrote:

“I held my Sabbath school at the house of a free colored man, whose name I deem it imprudent to mention; for should it be known, it might embarrass him greatly, though the crime of holding the school was committed ten years ago.

I had at one time over forty scholars, and those of the right sort, ardently desiring to learn. They were of all ages, though mostly men and women.

I look back to those Sundays with an amount of pleasure not to be expressed. They were great days to my soul. The work of instructing my dear fellow-slaves was the sweetest engagement with which I was ever blessed.

We loved each other, and to leave them at the close of the Sabbath was a severe cross indeed.

When I think that these precious souls are to-day shut up in the prison-house of slavery, my feelings overcome me, and I am almost ready to ask, ‘Does a righteous God govern the universe? and for what does he hold the thunders in his right hand, if not to smite the oppressor, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the spoiler?'”

Neighboring Democrat plantation owners were incensed that their slaves were learning to read, as this made it harder to control them.

One Sunday, slave owners from the surrounding Democrat plantations burst in with clubs and dispersed Frederick’s small congregation.

Frederick’s owner sent him a “slave-breaker” who whipped him regularly, nearly breaking him psychologically. After an abrupt confrontation, the slave-breaker never tried beating Frederick again.

Frederick’s owner rented him out to caulk ships in a shipyard.

In 1837, Frederick fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black in Baltimore.

Anna helped provide Frederick with a sailor’s uniform and some identification papers from a free black seaman.

On September 3, 1838, Frederick escaped by boarding a train to Havre de Grace, Maryland, and from there he fled to New York.

Frederick and Anna were married eleven days later by a black Presbyterian minister.

The newlyweds Frederick and Anna moved on north to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and joined a black church.

They changed their last name to “Douglass” to hide Frederick’s former identity from Democrat fugitive slave catchers.

In New Bedford, Frederick Douglass became a licensed preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

At the age of only 23, he was an accomplished public speaker.

Frederick and Anna Douglass regularly attended white abolitionist meetings, where, in 1841 they heard William Lloyd Garrison speak.

Garrison was a founder of the Liberty Party, 1840, which was replaced by the Free-Soil Party, 1848, which was replaced by the Republican Party, 1854.

When Frederick Douglass was unexpectedly asked to speak, William Lloyd Garrison was so impressed that he eventually hired Douglass to sell subscriptions to the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator.

In 1843, Douglass went on a 6-month speaking tour through Eastern and Midwestern States with the American Anti-Slavery Society.

He met Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Frederick Douglass wrote of speaking at a convention in Buffalo, New York:

“For nearly a week I spoke every day in this old post office to audiences increasing in numbers and respectability til the Michigan Avenue Baptist church was thrown open to me. When this became too small I went on Sunday into the open park and addressed an assembly of 4,000 persons.”

Frederick Douglass was frequently accosted by racist Democrat mobs, even having his hand broken, which never healed properly.

In 1845, Frederick Douglass published his autobiography, which became an instant best-seller, being translated into French and Dutch.

In it, Douglass condemned hypocritical “religious” slave owners. He clarified that he supported true Christianity, but the Democrat South did not live up to it:

“I find, since reading over the foregoing Narrative, that I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting religion, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion.

To remove the liability of such misapprehension, I deem it proper to append the following brief explanation.

What I have said respecting and against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the slave-holding religion of this land, and with no possible reference to Christianity proper;

for, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference — so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other.

I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.”

Skeptics could not believe a former slave could have written such an eloquent book so they began to question Douglass’ real identity.

Realizing that if his true identity was discovered, fugitive slave-catchers would try to capture him and return him to his owner, Frederick Douglass decided to flee to Ireland.

The Irish were supportive of Douglass, as during the 17th century, more Irish Catholics were sold into slavery than Africans, either by British to the Caribbean or by Muslim Corsair pirates to Africa’s Barbary Coast.

Douglass met with Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell.

O’Connell was referred to as The Liberator or The Emancipator for his emancipation efforts to remove discriminating Acts against Irish Catholics.

Frederick Douglass then traveled to England where his white English abolitionist friends raised over $700 to buy his freedom.

Finally free, Douglass wrote:

“I may be deemed superstitious, and even egotistical, in regarding this event as a special interposition of divine Providence in my favor.

But I should be false to the earliest sentiments of my soul, if I suppressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence.

From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom.

This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.”

Douglass returned to New York where he founded The North Star newspaper and wrote in support of abolition and women’s suffrage.

His motto was: “Right is of no sex–Truth is of no color–God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.”

After Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863, Frederick Douglass wrote:

“Can any colored man, or any white man friendly to the freedom of all men, ever forget the night which followed the first day of January 1863, when the world was to see if Abraham Lincoln would prove to be as good as his word?”

Frederick Douglass became an adviser to Lincoln.

Douglass even raised the one of the the first all Black Regiments, the “54th Massachusetts.”

This as portrayed in the film Glory (1989), which starred Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, and Denzel Washington, who won an Academy Award.

Other early all Black regiments were the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, which fought for America during the Revolutionary War;

and the First Kansas Colored Volunteers, which fought for the Union during the Civil War, notably in the Battles of Island Mound, Cabin Creek, Honey Spring, Poison Springs.

Frederick Douglass stated:

“I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.”

Black Republicans of the 19th century included:


  • Jeremiah Haralson (1846–1916), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • James T. Rapier (1837–1883), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • Benjamin S. Turner (1825–1894), Republican, U.S. Representative;


  • Scipio Africanus Jones (1863–1943), delegate to Republican National Convention;


  • Edward Duplex (1831–1900), Republican, Mayor of Wheatland, California (1888);
  • Pio Pico (1801–1894), last governor of Mexican California. Formed the Republican Party in California;
  • Frederick Madison Roberts (1879–1952), Republican, first African-American in California State Assembly;


  • Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs (1821–1874), Presbyterian minister, Republican, Secretary of State of Florida and Florida Superintendent of Public Instruction;
  • James Weldon Johnson (1871–1944), Republican, appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as U.S. Consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua, first black manager of the NAACP, president of the Colored Republican Club;
  • Josiah T. Walls (1842–1905), Republican, first African American to be elected a U.S. Representative from Florida;


  • Abram Colby (1800s), Republican, member of Georgia House of Representatives;
  • Jefferson Franklin Long (1836–1901), Republican, U.S. Representative;


  • Oscar Stanton de Priest (1871–1951), Republican, U.S. Representative;


  • Archie Alexander (1888–1958), Republican, governor of U.S. Virgin Islands;


  • William Tecumseh Vernon (1871–1944), Republican, bishop in African Methodist Episcopal Church, president of Western University, Register of the Treasury under President Theodore Roosevelt, 1906-1911;


  • Anna Simms Banks (1862–1923), Republican, first female delegate at the Kentucky’s 7th congressional district Convention in Kentucky;


  • Caesar Antoine (1836–1921), Republican, 13th Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana;
  • Antoine Dubuclet (1810–1887), Republican, State Treasurer of Louisiana;
  • Oscar Dunn (1826–1871), Republican, 11th Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana;
  • Charles Edmund Nash (1844–1913), Republican, U.S Representative;
  • P.B.S. Pinchback (1837–1921), Republican, 24th governor of Louisiana; first African-American governor of a U.S. state;


  • Ernest Lyon (1860–1938), Republican, Methodist clergyman, former United States Ambassador to Liberia, and founder of the Maryland Industrial and Agricultural Institute for Colored Youths;


  • Julius Caesar Chappelle (1852–1904), Republican, legislator (1883–1886), Massachusetts House of Representatives;
  • Lewis Hayden (1811–1889), Republican, elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature;
  • William Henry Lewis (1868–1949), Republican, one of the first African Americans admitted to the bar, and the first African American to be appointed U.S. Assistant Attorney General, “the highest office in an executive branch of the government ever held by a member of his race”;
  • Clement G. Morgan (1859–1929), Republican, Boston attorney, civil rights activist, and city official;
  • George Lewis Ruffin (1834–1886), Republican, attorney, judge, Massachusetts state legislator, and Boston city councilman;
  • John J. Smith (1820–1906), Republican, abolitionist and Massachusetts state representative;
  • Butler R. Wilson (1861–1939), Republican, Boston civil rights activist;


  • James W. Ames (1864–1944), Republican, member of Michigan House of Representatives;
  • William Webb Ferguson (1857-1910), Republican, first African-American man elected to Michigan House of Representatives;


  • John Francis Wheaton (1866–1922), Republican, member of Minnesota House of Representatives;


  • Blanche Bruce (1841–1898), Republican, first African American to serve a full term in U.S. Senate;
  • Perry Wilbon Howard (1877–1961), attorney and delegate to Republican National Convention, 1912–1960;
  • John Roy Lynch (1847–1939), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • Hiram Rhodes Revels (1827–1901), Republican, first African American to serve in U.S. Senate;
  • Roscoe Conkling Simmons (1881–1951), Republican, nephew of Booker T. Washington, journalist, first African-American columnist hired by the Chicago Tribune, Republican Party leader;
  • Ida B. Wells (1862–1931), Republican, civil rights advocate and co-founder of the NAACP;


  • Walthall M. Moore (1886–1960), Republican, first African American to serve in the Missouri state legislature;


  • Matthew Ricketts (1858–1917), Republican, member of the Nebraska House of Representatives;


  • Walter G. Alexander (1880–1953), Republican, first African-American to serve in New Jersey Legislature;
  • Oliver Randolph (1882–1951), Republican, second African American elected to New Jersey Legislature;


  • Edward A. Johnson (1860–1944), Republican, member of New York State Assembly;


  • Henry P. Cheatham (1857–1935), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • James H. Harris (1828–1898), Republican, member of North Carolina House of Representatives and North Carolina Senate;
  • John Adams Hyman (1840–1891), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • James E. O’Hara (1844–1905), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • George Henry White (1852–1918), Republican, U.S. representative;
  • James H. Young (1860–1921), Baptist, Republican, U.S. Colonel during Spanish-American War, member of North Carolina House of Representatives, 1894-1896;


  • Charles Henry Langston (1817–1892), Republican, abolitionist and political activist;


  • Green Currin (1842/1844–1918), Republican, member of Oklahoma Territorial Legislature;
  • A.C. Hamlin (1881–1912), Republican, member of Oklahoma House of Representatives;
  • Edward P. McCabe (1850–1920), Republican, Treasurer of Logan County, Oklahoma;


  • Octavius Valentine Catto (1839–1871), Republican, civil rights activist, African American baseball pioneer;
  • Crystal Bird Fauset (1894–1965), Republican, first female African-American state legislator in United States;
  • Mifflin Wistar Gibbs (1823–1915), Republican, American consul to Madagascar;


  • Richard H. Cain (1825–1887), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • Francis Lewis Cardozo (1836–1903), Republican, South Carolina Treasurer and Secretary of State;
  • Robert DeLarge (1842–1874), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • Robert Brown Elliott (1842–1884), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • Archibald Grimké (1849–1930), Republican, U.S. Consul to the Dominican Republic, 1894-1898, national vice-president of the NAACP;
  • Henry E. Hayne (1840–?), Republican, South Carolina State Senator and Secretary of State;
  • Thomas Ezekiel Miller (1849–1938), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • George Washington Murray (1853–1926), Republican, U.S. Representative;
  • Joseph H. Rainey (1832–1887), Republican, first African American to serve in U.S. House of Representatives;
  • Benjamin F. Randolph (1820–1868), Republican, South Carolina State Senator;
  • Robert Smalls (1839–1915), Republican, U.S. Representative;


  • William A. Feilds, Republican, member of Tennessee House of Representatives 1846, 1852–1898);
  • Samuel R. Lowery (1830–1900), Republican, preacher and lawyer, the first black to argue a caes before the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • William F. Yardley (1844–1924), Republican, anti-segregation advocate, first African American candidate for governor of Tennessee (1876);


  • Richard Allen (1830–1909), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;
  • Alexander Asberry (1861–1903), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;
  • Houston A.P. Bassett (1857–1920), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;
  • Thomas Beck (1819–?), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;
  • Walter Moses Burton (1840–1913), Republican, member of the Texas State Senate;
  • Norris Wright Cuney (1846–1898), Chairman of the Texas Republican Party (1886–1896);
  • Matthew Gaines (1840–1900), Republican, community leader, minister, and Texas State Senator;
  • William H. Holland (1841–1907), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;
  • William Madison McDonald (1866–1950), State Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas;
  • Robert J. Moore (1844–?), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;
  • Thompson Ruby (1841–1882), Republican, member of the Texas State Senate;
  • Robert Lloyd Smith (1861–1942), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;
  • James H. Stewart (1859–1924), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;
  • Benjamin Franklin Williams (1819–1886), Republican, member of the Texas House of Representatives;


  • Edward David Bland (1848–1927), Republican, member of the Virginia House of Delegates;
  • Peter K. Jones (1834–1895), Republican, member of the Virginia House of Delegates;
  • John Mercer Langston (1829–1897), Republican, first black U.S. Representative from Virginia;


  • William Owen Bush (1832–1907), Republican, member of the Washington State Legislature.

Many notable black authors and speakers have criticized modern-day dependency on government entitlements as being kin to the dependency that existed on Southern Democrat plantations, where slaves waited for handouts from their masters.

  • Star Parker, founder of CURE (Center for Urban Renewal) wrote Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It.

  • Rev. C.L. Bryant produced a documentary Runaway Slave Movie, stating: “I am a ‘Runaway Slave’ from the Democrats’ plantation.”

  • C. Mason Weaver wrote It’s OK to Leave the Plantation: The New Underground Railroad.

  • Wayne Perryman wrote Unfounded Loyalty: An In-Depth Look Into The Love Affair Between Blacks and Democrats.

  • Jesse Lee Peterson wrote From Rage to Responsibility: Black Conservative Jesse Lee Peterson and America Today.

Frederick Douglass told the story of his conversion:

“I was not more than thirteen years old, when I felt the need of God, as a father and protector.

My religious nature was awakened by the preaching of a white Methodist minister, named Hanson.

He thought that all men, great and small, bond and free, were sinners in the sight of God; that they were, by nature, rebels against His government; and that they must repent of their sins, and be reconciled to God, through Christ …

I was, for weeks, a poor, broken-hearted mourner, traveling through the darkness and misery of doubts and fears …”

Douglass continued:

“I finally found that change of heart which comes by ‘casting all one’s care’ upon God, and by having faith in Jesus Christ, as the Redeemer, Friend, and Savior of those who diligently seek him. After this, I saw the world in a new light …

I loved all mankind-slaveholders not excepted; though I abhorred slavery more than ever …

I gathered scattered pages of the Bible from the filthy street gutters, and washed and dried them, that … I might get a word or two of wisdom from them.”

(Get William J. Federer’s book BACKFIRED: A Nation Founded for Religious Tolerance No Longer Tolerates the Religion of Its Founders

Lay Aside the Fear of Legalism

The Wells of Grace in Godly Discipline

by Sarah Walton Guest Contributor

Christians, of all people, desire to make changes for the better: to break patterns of sin, live more faithfully, and grow in godliness. And yet, our battle with sin remains, and our enemy works tirelessly to distract, discourage, or weigh us down in that pursuit. One of his well-known tactics is legalism, reducing the Christian life to a series of dos and don’ts, and turning a joyful, Spirit-filled walk with Christ into a joyless, calculated pursuit of goodness in our own strength and for our own glory — a pursuit void of real gospel grace and genuine freedom.

There is another danger, however, that is often more subtle than the suffocating trap of legalism; it’s one that neglects spiritual effort out of the fear of legalism. Pastor Colin Smith wisely notes this trend growing in younger Christians and offers this warning: “Don’t let the fear of legalism rob you of the benefits of a regular pattern of walking with God.”

In our resistance toward legalism (which is good and right), we easily can swing the pendulum, and neglect the very avenues of ongoing grace God has given for our good.

Legalism and Discipline

Some years ago, while my husband and I were in a small group with other young Christian couples, a man suggested that we shouldn’t force ourselves to pray before each meal. “If we did, wouldn’t that be legalism?” he asked. “If we don’t feel thankful in the moment, aren’t we being hypocritical and legalistic to pray and thank God for our food simply out of habit?” Although something seemed a bit off in his reasoning, I found myself pondering it anyway. For a while, I even tried a little of his method, praying before I ate only when I felt moved to do so. I will admit, this caused me to grow only in a spirit of thanklessness.

As I considered Pastor Colin’s warning, I began to realize what a subtle, yet real, lie this has become in many believers’ lives. For fear of being legalistic, we can rob ourselves of the benefits of a regular pattern of walking with God in the spiritual disciplines. But the apostle Paul tells us to resist this way of thinking in 1 Corinthians 9:24–27:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

The danger of confusing legalism and Spirit-empowered discipline is that we can lose the very God-appointed means that are crucial for our ongoing growth, sanctification, protection, and intimacy with Christ. So, as we consider whether our personal disciplines (or lack thereof) are based on legalism or the gospel, we can ask ourselves, “Am I striving to live up to the law in my own strength, in order to earn God’s forgiveness and favor, or am I striving in the strength of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of growing up in Christ and reflecting more of him?”

Legalism stems from putting confidence in our own efforts and abilities, producing pride and self-righteousness. Discipline, on the other hand, recognizes that we are already fully accepted by God through faith alone, and that we need to depend on the power of the Spirit, and exert effort to strive toward holiness, producing freedom and joy as we grow in godliness. Such discipline reflects a heart that is living wisely now in light of our security in Christ and the imperishable reward that is to come.

Will It Help Me Run?

When John Piper was a teenager, he heard a sermon on Hebrews 12:1–2: “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus.” The preacher challenged him to run his race well by not only asking, “Is it sin?” but “Does it help me run?” Piper continues,

“Does it get in my way when I am trying to become more patient, more kind, more gentle, more loving, more holy, more pure, more self-controlled? Does it get in my way, or does it help me run?” That is the question to ask.

Ask the maximal righteousness question, not the minimal righteousness question. . . .

If you have that mentality about your life, then you will ask not, “How many sins can I avoid?” but “How many weights can I lay down so that I am fleet-footed in the race of righteousness?”

Do you find his words as convicting and motivating as I do? Do we want to live seeking only to avoid sin, or do we desire to run the race with proactive intentionality, laying aside anything that prevents us from running well? This will take discipline! If we want to be equipped to run the race, we will prepare ourselves for it.

Even in the Dry Seasons

I’m certain that most of us would admit that, at one time or another, our sitting down in God’s word, praying, or going to church has been purely a duty rather than a delight. But reading, meditating, memorizing, hearing, and applying God’s word is food to a believer’s soul. Apart from these disciplines, we will be prone to drift from the truth and susceptible to being swept away when the storms of life come.

In fact, the times we feel least like reading the Bible and sitting in church are typically the times that we need it the most. If we neglect these disciplines, it will do more than keep us from legalism; it will keep us from the life-giving truth, hope, and power that we all desperately need. We need to stop making excuses for why we don’t have time to read, study, and meditate on Scripture. Though our habits will look different depending on the season of life, we need to creatively find ways to feed ourselves with God’s word, especially in these seasons.

We have one life, one race, one chance. How we spend our time greatly reflects what we value.

Privilege of Discipline

We each have unique areas that will require more discipline than others. For example, would we consider it legalistic for an alcoholic to keep alcohol out of his home? Is it legalistic for those who feel controlled by their smartphone to turn it in for a less fancy flip phone? Is it legalistic for a family to say “no” to a sport that has games only on Sunday mornings for the sake of making church a priority? No, it isn’t. It’s creating spiritual disciplines and protection for themselves in areas where they know they are vulnerable.

It would be beneficial for us all to seek wisdom in prayer, counsel, and God’s word to see if there are areas in our lives that may require us to put new habits and disciplines in place for the purpose of laying aside anything that does not help us run well.

Christian, as you look ahead to the start of a new year, beware that you don’t add weight to your shoulders by pursuing goals and changes out of guilt or in self-reliance. But let us also not be deceived into lives lacking discipline. Over time, godly discipline, under the banner of the gospel, will begin to feel less like mere discipline and more like the privilege that it is.

Godly disciplines are not legalistic. Rather, they are the appropriate and wise responses of a chosen, forgiven, redeemed, and Spirit-indwelt child of God.

‘We will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God’



Nov 22, 2019


God’s mind-boggling promise to old Abraham was that his family would bless all the nations of earth, but that blessing required Abraham and his descendants to live like God’s people should, and not like the wicked pagans around them.

The big question was whether God’s people would choose righteousness over wickedness.

And it always requires lots of time to sort out the answers to big questions.

Abraham didn’t live to see the answer. It would be his grandson, Jacob, (later renamed Israel) who would have 12 sons, each of whom would become the father of his own tribe.

Those descendants would face the first test of their faith in Abraham’s God as they moved to Egypt to escape a famine that swept Canaan. Egypt, of course, worshiped pagan gods, not the God of Abraham, and during their 400 years in Egypt, the people became slaves to the Egyptians. But not only did they work at forced labor, they also joined their neighbors in worshiping the pagan gods of the land.

By the time God sent Moses and Joshua to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, the land promised to Abraham also had been overrun by a host of pagan tribes whose even more abhorrent worship practices were a horrific insult to the clearly revealed greatness of God [Romans 1:19-20]. If the children of Abraham fell into those abominable rituals, the insult to the One True God of Abraham would be far worse. Because these tribes — the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites — knew their ways were an insult to God’s holiness, the Israelites were commanded to deliver God’s judgment as they conquered the land — by completely destroying the peoples and their detestable worship customs. [Deuteronomy 20:17-18]

As God’s people know all too well today, however, pagan customs offer a certain allure, while obedience to the Lord requires determined sacrifice. So the pagans and their customs were not completely destroyed, as God had commanded, and God’s people struggled to remain devoted to the the Lord who had raised them up from one old man and delivered them with astonishing miracles out of slavery and back into control of the land originally promised to Abraham. [Exodus 3 – Joshua 24]

As they finally solidified control of Abraham’s Land of Promise, Joshua gathered the entire nation. He commanded them to destroy the idols they were carrying — the old pagan gods of Abraham’s forefathers and the new ones of the Amorites, whose land they had just reclaimed as their own. He challenged them to wholeheartedly honor only the Lord, who had rescued them from slavery in Egypt and fought for them miraculously in battles to reclaim the land.

The people replied, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God.” (Joshua 24:16-18 NLT)

Joshua, however, knew human nature better than that. He knew they would easily succumb to the pleasures and temptations of pagan worship. He reminded them that holy God would not tolerate rebellion and turning to wicked ways.

Joshua warned: “You are not able to serve the Lord. … If you abandon the Lord and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you.”

But the people insisted, “No, we will serve the Lord!” And that day the children of Abraham renewed the covenant with Almighty God.

Actions, as always, will speak louder than words. Would the people resist pagan ways and live to honor God alone?

And if not, would the Lord actually follow through on Joshua’s warning that God would destroy his own people if they violated the covenant he had made with Abraham?

Who Can Never Lift Up Their Heads? Part -1

January 28, 2020 hepsibahgarden

Look up! For your redemption is drawing nigh!!

This 👆 is a statement every disciple of Christ would often hear – be it during Sunday sermons, during funerals, or any typical Christian gathering. Nevertheless yes, it’s very true that Jesus is going to appear anytime to catch His bride away! Therefore what every follower of Christ needs to do is, to see whether he/she is ready to be caught up at Jesus’ Coming; and for this they must lift up their heads to watch and pray! But then there would also be some would be unable to do so!!


1. Those who constantly enjoy the pleasures that the world offers – The world is always eager to keep everyone of them happy, who seek joy from the world. But such people can never enjoy the happiness heaven offers because their heart and mind would be mindful only to the things of this world. There is an account of a rich man in the Bible, about whom Jesus had said.

There was once a rich man who dressed in the most expensive clothes and lived in great luxury every day. There was also a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who used to be brought to the rich man’s door, hoping to eat the bits of food that fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs would come and lick his sores. Luke‬ ‭16:19-21

The luxury of the world blinded him so much so that he forgot God and to do good to his neighbour as well! After his death he ended up being in hell. May our state not be like that of the rich man.

2. A person under a yoke/harness can never lift up his head – Normally a yoke is placed on the necks of oxen, before ploughing a field. Under the weight of the harness the animals are not in a position to lift up their heads whenever they want and hence they are in a bowed down state. The oxen are then led as per the desire of the farmer.

The enemy(devil) uses exactly the same method to place the yoke upon the necks and lives of people, making it difficult for them to stand upright. This kind of yoke is referred to the burden of sin, sickness, death, troubles etc. Living a sinful life will not help someone to lift up his/her head. However, Jesus gives an open call to those under the burden of sin and sickness. Mathew 11:28,29.

I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright. Leviticus‬ ‭26:13‬

How can this yoke be broken? Only through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. Isaiah‬ ‭10:27‬

(… to be continued)

Original here

The ‘Jesus’ revered by Muslims is not the same Jesus worshipped by Christians as God

‘1,400 years ago, Muhammad hijacked Jesus from the gospels.’

Featured Image

Muslim students in Indonesia read the Qur’an in the middle of the night

By William Kilpatrick

January 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – 1,400 years ago, Muhammad hijacked Jesus from the gospels, demoted him to prophet, and placed him in the Koran.  Christianity was Islam’s main competition at the time, and Muhammad seems to have reasoned that it was better to co-opt Jesus than to denounce him.

Jump ahead 1400 years, and we find that some Muslims are still manipulating the figure of Jesus for political and religious purposes.  For example, Muslims in the West Bank have for several years been proclaiming that Jesus was the “first Palestinian.” They claim, moreover, that when Israelis place restrictions on Palestinians, “Jesus is being crucified again.”  The latest twist on that story is that Jesus was also the first martyr for Islam.  Tawfiq Tirawi, a senior member of the Palestinian Authority posted the following on his Facebook page:

This is blessed Christmas, the birthday of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, the first Palestinian and the first Shahid (Islamic Martyr).

I bring this up because many Christians have only a hazy understanding of the place of Jesus in Islam and some are completely unaware that Jesus does have a place in Islam.  Catholics, however, should know that Muslims “revere” Jesus because that’s what it says in the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, and almost everyone who has attended Catholic schools in recent decades will have been appraised of the high esteem that Muslims have for Jesus.

But for many Catholics, that’s all they know about Jesus and Islam.  And it simply isn’t enough now that Islam has passed through its mid-century sleepy-time phase, and has re-emerged as a world power.  It’s important to recall that Nostra Aetate was written in 1965—right in the midst of that quiescent era– and it was meant to convey a positive picture of Islam, not a complete one.

Islam has emerged from its mid-century slumber, but many Catholics have not emerged from theirs.  They won’t admit that the Vatican II sketch of Islam is woefully inadequate for understanding born-again militant Islam.

Take the claim by the Palestinian leader that Jesus was the first Islamic martyr.  Anyone with a basic knowledge of Islam would immediately realize that Tirawi was either a) very poorly informed about Islam or b) deliberately deceiving for propaganda purposes.  Jesus could not have been an Islamic martyr because the Koran denies that he was crucified.  Instead the Koran claims that someone else who looked like Jesus was mistakenly crucified in his place. (4:157)

Jesus is revered by Muslims not because he died for our sins (not true say Islamic authorities), but because he was a great prophet.  Why was he a great prophet?  Primarily because he foretold the coming of Muhammad.

But suppose for a minute that Jesus gave up his life for the sake of Allah as the Palestinian leader claims.  That presents another difficulty for Catholics who think that Muslims venerate the same Jesus that they do.  According to Islamic tradition, the reward that the Islamic martyr receives in paradise is 72 dark-eyed virgins.

The concept is, of course, offensive to Catholics and other Christians.  It not only reveals that Muslims have a complete misunderstanding of who Jesus is, but also a rather base conception of our final destiny.

But since the Koran says that Jesus was not martyred, the question of virginal rewards is moot.  Or is it?  While Islamic scholars are agreed that martyrdom is the surest way to paradise, one doesn’t have to be a martyr to get there.  One authoritative guide to Islamic law asserts that “whoever believes in Allah and dies as a believer is one of the inhabitants of paradise…” (Reliance of the Traveller, p1.3).  After all, Muhammad didn’t die as a martyr either.  Yet, one assumes that, from an Islamic point of view, he is safely in the company of his 72 companions– or, perhaps in his case, 144 or more.  Although Muslim males are restricted to four wives at a time on earth, Allah declared that Muhammad could have as many as he desired.

Nostra Aetate assures us that Muslims “value the moral life,” and the implication is that it’s more or less the same moral life that Christians value.  But when it comes to sexual ethics and the equality of men and women, it’s quite obviously a different kind of moral life that is valued.  Indeed, from a Christian perspective it’s an immoral life.  Heaven is nothing more than a glorified harem.

Christians need to be careful about projecting Christian assumptions onto Islam.  It’s particularly tempting to assume that the Jesus Muslims honor is none other than the Jesus of the gospels.  But he’s not the same Jesus.  For one thing, he’s not even a Christian (or Jew).  He’s a Muslim.  If he were a Christian, he would end up in hell not paradise.  Why?  Because the worst sin anyone can commit is the sin of shirk—ascribing associates to Allah.  Thus, believing in the Trinity is a great sin since that article of faith describes God as a unity of three persons.  The Koran is quite adamant that “whoever ascribes associates to Allah, Allah has forbidden him paradise, and his refuge is hell” (5: 72).  Since the Jesus of the gospels claims to be the Son of God, he would be guilty of shirk in the highest degree, and thus, to put it mildly, ineligible for paradise.  The Jesus of the Koran, on the other hand, vows to Allah that he had never claimed to be God (5:116). He knows the rules, and as a good Muslim he follows them.

The closer one looks at the Jesus of the Koran, the more difficult it is to believe that he is the same Jesus we find in the gospels.  He is no longer a Christian but a convert to Islam.  When he comes again, according to Reliance of the Traveller, “he will not rule according to the Evangel [the Gospel]. But as a follower of our Prophet.” (o9.8)

Not only that, but at the Last Judgement, Jesus will bear witness against Christians who have not converted to Islam (Koran 4: 159).  This might come as a bit of a shock to Catholics who have heard that Islam has high regard for the “people of the book”—i.e., Christians and Jews.  Isn’t it enough, they may ask, to follow their own faith as long as they are people of the book?

Well, yes and no.  At one time it was enough, but no more.  Not with the arrival of Muhammad on the scene.  Reliance of the Traveller puts it this way:

Whoever adhered to the Evangel and precepts of Jesus, their faith was valid and acceptable until the coming of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace.)  Those of them who did not then follow Muhammad and give up the sunna of Jesus and the Evangel, were lost. (w 4.4)

In short, at a certain point in history, Allah threw the book at the people of the book for not switching to the 2.0 version of his religion.  The new version essentially replaced the old:

Allah Most High sent Muhammad …to deliver His inspired message to the entire world…superseding and abrogating all previous religious systems with the Prophet’s Sacred Law (Reliance of the Traveller, v. 2.1).

Muhammad hijacked Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (all re-imagined as Muslim prophets) to help sell his patchwork creation.  And Muslims are still trying to enlist Jesus in order to sell Islam. Only now, they use modern advertising methods to promote their message. So, don’t be surprised if the next time you’re cruising down the highway, you encounter a billboard suggesting that you “Find Jesus in the Qur’an, Muhammad in the Bible.”

The ad campaign is sponsored by a Muslim group called GainPeace. Sabeel Ahmed, the executive director, claims that “our main purpose is to build bridges, and to erase misconceptions.”

But the ad itself is misleading. I can’t claim to remember every name in the Bible, but I’m fairly sure that the name “Muhammad” is not among them. It’s true, of course, that someone named “Jesus” does make occasional appearances in the Koran. And because Muhammad borrows from Luke’s nativity story, it looks at first as though it might be the same Jesus. But after we find out that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary, the narrative—if you could call it that–departs radically from the Bible story. Almost everything else spoken by the Muslim Jesus or spoken about him is a subversion of the Christian message.

One last point. Sabeel Ahmed reports that “Jesus is mentioned with love and respect and honor more than 25 times in the Qur’an.” Twenty-five sounds about right, but in most of those mentions, Jesus’s name simply appears in a list of other Muslim prophets who endorse Muhammad’s message. If you’re simply looking for the name “Jesus,” you’ll find it in the Koran, but if you’re looking for a flesh and blood person like the Jesus Christians know, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Unfortunately, this numbers game is effective with some Christians—particularly with those who have not read the Koran. In defense of the thesis that Islam and Christianity share much in common, a priest once pointed out to me that Mary is mentioned in the Koran 32 times. He seemed to think that that was a decisive argument. But, of course, it’s not. And if confusion about the faith continues to rise among Catholics, it’s a good bet that Muslims will ramp up their proselytizing efforts.  Catholics who hope to defend their faith will need to better inform themselves about Islam, and not let themselves be misled by word games and number games.

William Kilpatrick is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong; Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West; and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. Professor Kilpatrick’s articles on cultural and educational topics have appeared in First Things, Policy Review, American Educator, and various scholarly journals. His articles on Islam have appeared in Crisis, Catholic World Report, The Catholic Thing, National Catholic Register, and other publications. He is also the author of Insecurity, a dark comedy about political correctness run amok in the military and the government. For more of his recent articles, visit his website,